Airline salutes service members with Boeing 757 christened the “Spirit of Freedom”
Delta Air Lines today capped a three-day celebration of veterans with a $350,000 gift to the Fisher House Foundation at Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C. The airline kicked off its military salute in Atlanta on Friday, Nov. 9, with the dedication of the “Spirit of Freedom,” a Boeing 757 honoring men and women who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including more than 10,000 Delta employees.
Congressman John Kline, Minn., who serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, joined Andrea Newman, Delta’s senior vice president – Government Affairs, and Tad Hutcheson, Delta’s vice president – Community Affairs in presenting the gift to the Fisher House today.
“Delta is a longstanding supporter of Fisher House, because we strongly believe in their mission of providing, without charge, a safe, comforting environment for families of service members during their medical stay,” said Newman. “On behalf of Delta’s 80,000 employees, I want to personally thank Fisher House for the tremendous work they do.”
The gift will support veterans and families receiving treatment at military medical centers. It comes in part from the Delta Sky Club®, which donated 10 percent of proceeds from new memberships purchased in July.
During today’s gate celebration at DCA, Delta employees handed out commemorative stickers to passengers in honor of Veterans Day.
On Friday, Nov. 9, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Delta CEO Richard Anderson, other military and elected officials, and hundreds of employees gathered at Delta’s Technical Operations Center in Atlanta to mark the christening of the “Spirit of Freedom,” which now bears a commemorative logo.
“At Delta, we have an obligation to support our employee servicemen and servicewomen, our veterans and the millions of others on active duty who fly with us each year,” said Anderson. “In honor of their brave acts of service, selflessness and sacrifice, we are proud to dedicate this aircraft.”
Delta’s Veterans Employee Network collected letters and coordinated care packages for service members stationed abroad through a partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and the USO. Delta flight attendants also collected more than 3,000 thank you letters to send to those serving our country this Thanksgiving.
Delta and the U.S. Armed Forces
Delta’s commitment to military service members extends year-round across the travel experience and includes:
— Volunteer efforts at USO lounges across the U.S., including contributing
to the establishment of a permanent USO lounge in Detroit Metropolitan
Airport’s McNamara Terminal;
— Operating more than 2,000 military charter flights in 2012;
— Donating millions of miles to military support organizations like the
Fisher House Foundation and USO;
— Recognizing military members in uniform by providing First Class and
BusinessElite® upgrades when seats are available, as well as priority
boarding and complimentary Delta Sky Club access nationwide;
— The Delta Honor Guard, an employee-led group at more than a dozen U.S.
airports that administers flag ceremonies and uses specially themed
patriotic ground equipment to transport fallen heroes returning home;
— A pledge to hire more veterans by 2020 as part of its participation in
the 100,000 Jobs Mission.
In July, Delta accepted the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. Delta is the first airline to receive the honor in a decade.
About Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. The Fisher Houses are 5,000 to 16,800 square-foot homes, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs, where families can stay while a loved one is receiving treatment. Additionally, the Foundation ensures that families of service men and women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan are not burdened with unnecessary expense during a time of crisis.
Located in close proximity to the medical center or hospital it serves, each Fisher House consists of between 8 and 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and an inviting living room with a library and toys for children. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is no fee to stay in a Fisher House. Since inception, the program has saved military and veteran families an estimated $192 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
Fisher House Foundation operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and children of fallen and disabled veterans.
About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. During the past year, Delta was named domestic “Airline of the Year” by the readers of Travel Weekly magazine, was named the “Top Tech-Friendly U.S. Airline” by PCWorld magazine for its innovation in technology, won the Business Travel News Annual Airline Survey and was the recipient of 12 Executive Travel Magazine Leading Edge Awards for U.S. airlines. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 313 destinations in 58 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry’s leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline’s service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, a world-class airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Delta is investing more than $3 billion through 2013 in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at delta.com.
SOURCE Delta Air Lines